The American Red Cross has been giving mixed signals throughout the pandemic about their stance on accepting blood plasma of vaccinated versus unvaccinated. (See timeline below).
Earlier this month the Red Cross said that it will not use the blood of vaccinated individuals for convalescent plasma COVID-19 treatments for use in immunocompromised patients. This latest statement contradicts their own social media posts and current FDA guidance.
Red Cross Senior Media Relations Manager Emily Osment said the organization is “currently only producing convalescent plasma from donations from individuals who are unvaccinated and have confirmed a previous symptomatic COVID-19 infection.”
“This is because when an individual has been infected with a virus, they produce antibodies to multiple regions of a virus,” told the Valiant News. “If a donor has had the COVID-19 vaccine, they will generate an antibody against the spike protein but not other viral proteins, which will only occur in the event of a COVID-19 infection.”
This appeared to contradict a recent tweet from author Jennifer Sey who claimed that with her husband’s experience as a blood donor, the Red Cross would only test unvaccinated people for what presumably would be COVID-19 antibodies.
Approaching 50,000 Likes and 14,000 Retweets, the responses skyrocketed. Even the American Red Cross replied to Sey.
American Red Cross replied
This spurred more responses.
According to their current website information the American Red Cross continues to take donations from unvaccinated and vaccinated people.
🔹February 11, 2021. FDA issues guidance on the use of CCP to treat COVID-19 for immunocompromised patients, barring the collection of CCP from individuals “who have received an investigational COVID-19 vaccine as a participant in a clinical trial, or received an authorized or licensed COVID-19 vaccine” to “ensure that COVID-19 convalescent plasma collected from donors contains antibodies directly related to their immune responses to SARS-CoV2 infection.”
The only exception was that vaccinated individuals must had received the vaccine after they were diagnosed with COVID-19 and been symptom-free for no longer than six months. Vaccinated people who did not meet the terms were deemed ineligible.
🔹February 24, 2021. Red Cross announce the discontinuation of their CCP donation program, apparently due to data that suggested that “natural infection can decline after six months.”
“Throughout the pandemic, the American Red Cross has adapted its collection of lifesaving blood products to meet the needs of all patients—including those battling COVID-19. Currently, our primary efforts are the prioritized expansion of red blood cell and platelet collections to meet surging hospital demand and have discontinued our convalescent plasma program. We will continue to monitor the situation in the context of emerging information, evolution of the pandemic and hospital demand to determine if we should resume our convalescent plasma program in the future.”American Red Cross
🔹May 4, 2021. Red Cross restarts their program of testing the blood of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people for COVID-19 antibodies. They were not accepting CCP donations from vaccinated people so they could evaluate the “feasibility” and “timeline” of the FDA’s February guidance.
🔹January 7, 2022. The FDA updates their guidance, with revisions and permitted CCP donations from individuals who were vaccinated prior to infection. The change allowed vaccinated people with so-called “breakthrough” infections to be CCP donors.
🔹March 7, 2022. The American Red Cross resumed testing all blood donations made on or after March 7, 2022, “for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential units that can be manufactured” into CCP.
Red Cross maintains that routine plasma donations from vaccinated people with high levels of COVID-19 antibodies, that also meet other U.S. Food and Drug Administration criteria, “may” be used to treat immunocompromised patients battling COVID-19.
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